Sunday, October 22, 2017


Yes, as I mentioned last week, I'm "Back at It" in the Sewdio, and enjoying the variety immensely.

While ideas for a 'Scottish Landscape' series fill my head, I've been working on prior commitments and gifts.

One of the gifts is (yet another) hedgehog...which I presented today to my friend J, on the occasion of her 87th birthday...

Ain't he (or she) cute?

Another is a set of pillow shams for a client to give as a gift.  For now, let's just say that the pattern has been drafted (a traditional quilt block as the focus) but it's complex enough that I may do a mock-up in miscellaneous fabric before I dip into the fabrics for which the client's paid!

And then there is a Very Special Project.

By this, I'm referring to a series of fabric blocks that have been created by students at the Social Justice Sewing Academy (SJSA), publicized on the SAQA Blog a couple of months ago.  Young people are being encouraged to engage in discourse and activities to support civil justice...and a number of them are involved in creating these blocks that will become art quilts.  Volunteers were needed to add embroidery to the prepared blocks. 

I learned to embroider around age 11, just a few years after I learned to knit.  I love it almost as much, and use these skills frequently in my art work.  I even took a Certificate in Contemporary Hand Stitch from Gail Harker in La Conner, WA,  a decade ago.  AND  I have a huge healthy stash of embroidery floss with which to work.

It only made sense that I would volunteer with this project!

But...I was going away for most of September.  Could it wait till I got back?  Of course!

So...a week ago a package arrived in the mail...from the U.K.  I have no idea why that happened, as SJSA is based in the U.S., but there you are.  In the package were seven (count 'em!) large (15" square) blocks, each with images applied to them...with some sort of glue....and with a 30-day turn-around time!!  I managed to get that changed to six weeks, thank you -- and set to work.  Here's some of that Work in Progress...

A's Block (1)

A's Block (2)

A's Block (3)

U's Block (1)

U's Block (2)

Each block comes with the first name of the artist, a short statement about the work, and if desired by the artists, any special requests.  Above you can see that in U's block, there are grey clouds that have been applied in the sky, opposite the image of the sun.  I put those clouds in, as this is one of her requests, as was the red stripes on each flag in the photos.

I am being very careful to work on one piece at a time so that I can absorb what each artist is saying in his/her work...and plan my stitching accordingly.  While I have complete freedom to select the colours and type of stitches I make on each piece, I am trying to use materials and stitches that will enhance quietly the work and thought behind them.

I know that I have probably never experienced any of the challenges that these young artists have faced in their short this has given me a glimpse at their personal journeys and a great admiration for their courage, as well as gratitude for those who work with them to bring to our consciousness important issues, while providing a means of creative therapy that comes from the expression of ideas, thoughts, experiences and feelings through the realm of art.

I thank the organizers of this project at SJSA, and hope that my modest contribution will be of use and benefit.

To find out more about SJSA, or to take part in this work, click HERE...

Linking to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday, where this week she's been talking about picking a colour palette.  (Note that in the SJSA pieces above, there is a distinct palette selected to convey the message of the work.  As I'm not sure these young artists have been especially taught this concept, I'm proposing that some of our colour selections are intuitive -- they "just make sense"...But a little knowledge can work even more artistic magic, don't you think?)

1 comment:

Sha said...

The SJSA makes me think of the concept of community and how it is taking on a different form from the normal gathering and interactions of those that live close to us. The internet and global mailing services etc allow us to be in touch and thus create community that is made up of many different folks. Whether it is an on line class or this special project you have agreed to be part of.

really being part of community can entail the sometimes unnoticed flow of giving and receiving, where one gives what they have to offer and in turn the community gives back to one the amalgamated results of the individual gifts. As this happens to more and more people we ultimately get to know and understand each other more and there are so many possibilities that arise from this. I am 'cautionistically optimistic.

Enjoy the time with the blocks and the connections you are making thru working with and on them.